2014 Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup season preview
With the Formula One circus heading to Europe for the first time this year, it means the start of the Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup is now upon us, with the now traditional, season opening Barcelona race taking place this weekend.
Last season’s champion Nicki Thiim has moved onto to other ventures in the world of GT racing, leaving the 2014 Supercup bereft of previous title winners. However, taking his place is a raft of exciting rookie talent, and a number of his rivals from 2013.
Top of Total 911’s list is British driver, Ben Barker. After scorching season of Carrera Cup GB in 2012, the Briton moved into Supercup last season with the Dutch Team Bleekemolen.
With many of the circuits unfamiliar to the 22-year-old, taking on the world’s best Porsche 911 was always going to be a tough task however, by the end of the year, Barker had acclimatised well, taking a deserved fourth place in the Abu Dhabi finale.
This season, Barker continues on Total 911’s books, this time as one of three racing columnists. However, with a switch to VERVA Lechner Racing, he is expecting to be battling for his maiden Supercup win in Barcelona, as he aims to challenge for the 2014 title.
In his way will undoubtedly be teammate, Kuba Giermaziak. The Pole is blisteringly fast, and was unlucky to miss out on a win at Spa last season when a last lap gearbox gremlin caused him to drop back. A high calibre teammate is likely to spur Barker on though.
Along with Barker, the undoubted star of the Abu Dhabi race last year was New Zealand racer, Earl Bamber. The Kiwi took a stunning pole on his Supercup debut, eventually racing to second place in race one.
This season, the 2013 Carrera Cup Asia champion has been selected as the International Cup Scholar and, with the support of Porsche, will race for the Fach Auto Tech team. Alongside his Carrera Cup Deutschland and Asia campaigns, Bamber is likely to be sharp all season, with a gambit of 991 GT3 Cup seat time.
He will be pushed hard by returning German duo, Michael Ammermüller and Klaus Bachler, the latter of whom took his first Supercup victory at Spa after Giermaziak’s demise.
While Bamber may be the pick of the rookie drivers, it would be unwise to overlook the #22 MOMO-Megatron entry of Thomas Biagi. The Italian is new not just to the Supercup but also to racing a Porsche 911. However, as a two-time FIA GT champion, Biagi’s pedigree is unarguable.
Porsche Juniors, Connor de Phillippi and Alex Riberas (the latter at Thiim’s title-winning Attempto Racing squad) were impressive in Deutschland last season, and appeared to get on well with the 991 car when at Hockenheim last weekend. It would be a surprise to see them challenging for podiums later in the season.
With just ten races comprising the 2014 Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup season, every meeting counts, so victory at the 2.89-mile Circuit de Catalunya will prove vital. Who will jump onto the top step on Sunday is an unknown but, this looks set to be the most competitive season of Supercup for some time and here at Total 911 we can’t wait.